Low-income children face twice the risk of dying from crash-related injuries compared to children from higher income families. To increase safety for these children, the California Health Care Safety Net Institute and the UC Davis Medical Center launched the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Initiative with funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The initiative ran from April, 2001, through September, 2003, and had these goals: to increase safety seat use among families using public health care services; to decrease the rate of safety seat misuse among these families; and to increase awareness of the January 1, 2002 “booster seat” law which requires child safety restraints for children up to age six or sixty pounds. (Previously, the law required appropriate restraint for children up to four years and forty pounds.)
The study found that the initiative positively affected both amount of use and proper use of safety seats. Overall use increased by five percent, although booster-seat use did not. Specific types of serious misuse—such as not securing the safety seat tightly enough to the vehicle or positioning the harness clip incorrectly—dramatically decreased.